he Technical Assistance Fund provides quick-turnaround microgrants (under $25,000) to eligible state entities to help increase educational attainment and to close gaps between historically underserved students and their peers. Lumina does not endorse a one-size-fits-all approach and encourages state leaders to shape Technical Assistance Fund requests to their particular state contexts within the frame of the state policy agenda.

Eligibility Criteria

State governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations located in and focused exclusively on one state are eligible to receive technical assistance grants. Examples of eligible entities include:

  • Governor’s offices and executive agencies.

  • Legislative committees and services (nonpartisan or bipartisan).

  • State higher education executive officer (SHEEO) and financial assistance agencies.

  • Workforce and labor agencies.

  • State councils and task forces.

  • Statewide institutional systems and governing bodies.

  • Nonprofit organizations and statewide coalitions whose missions are to serve their home states (e.g., Achieve60AZ [AZ]; Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence [KY]; Educate Maine [ME]).

The applying entity must be an organization that is classified as tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, as a public charity under section 509(a)(1), (2) or (3) of the Code, or be a state, a possession of the United States, or any political subdivision of any of the foregoing.

Regional higher education compacts, national organizations, and similar entities are not eligible for technical assistance grants. However, states receiving the technical assistance funds may choose to use these entities to provide assistance.

The eligibility requirements for fund recipients do not apply to the technical assistance providers (e.g., researchers, policy experts, or communications firms). The provider of technical assistance need not be a 501(c)3 or a 509(a) 1, 2 or 3, or a government entity.

Funding Levels

The Technical Assistance Fund provides flexible support to states for costs that are typically one-time and beyond an agency’s capacity or planned budget. The following levels of grants describe the type of activities that the fund supports.

Level 1: Up to $5,000

Supports activities such as travel expenses for experts, consultants, and speakers from other states to provide testimony, deliver keynote addresses, or participate in meetings; printing and publication costs; convenings (e.g. travel, facilitation, materials and supplies, space rental, catering, technology).

Level 2: $5,001 – $15,000

Supports activities such as convenings; travel and stakeholder engagement; state data analysis and research; one-time technology costs where the grantee can demonstrate sustainable funding.

Level 3: $15,001 – $25,000

The fund will not support, at any level: activities already receiving Lumina sponsorship or grant funding; honoraria for experts or speakers; campaign contributions, direct or grassroots lobbying expenditures; gift or ethics rules violations; or payment to government officials (not including travel expenses). Lumina Foundation funds may not be used to support or oppose any specific legislation.

Entities that receive a Level 2 technical assistance grant can receive such a grant every two years. Entities that receive a Level 3 grant can receive such a grant every three years.  This provision does not apply to requests addressing the COVID-19 crisis.

Apply here